Thursday, June 30, 2005

Where does Love come From?

This VC has been written by one of our staff. Begining tomorrow, July 1st, we will be having several people writing for VC. Each is identified at the close of the entry. Thank you all for your wonderful words of encouragement.

Where does Love come From?

"We Love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) I love the simplicity of this verse; it is short, powerful and to the point. Yet, at the same time it is overflowing with the gospel and God's great purpose in our lives. You know the age old question... What came first the chicken or the egg? Well, in this case God tells us clearly that what came first was HIS LOVE. God initiated Love, now all we need to do is respond to that Love.

I am celebrating one year of marriage this month and this is the verse my husband and I choose for our wedding. Because of the great things He has done in our lives through his love we have been able to fully love each other. Neither my husband nor I were born into homes where belief
in the power of His Love existed. My husband is a graduate from the Colony of Mercy and God's Love radically changed His life. We are fully aware that unless God had offered His love to him, we would not have met, he would not be clean and we would not be married and ministering
at America's KESWICK. Each day we are reminded that our ability to love comes only from him, how we love each other is demonstrated by him, and by tapping into that Love we will have a great marriage.

Do you know His Love? Are you in Love with Him? Are your other relationships built around that model of love? Remember you are never unloved - God Loves You!


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

James 4: 6, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Have you ever paused to consider all the different ways pride hinders our obedience? For example, asking forgiveness. One of the reasons we don't approach a sister in Christ to ask forgiveness is because it requires humility on our part. Why do wives struggle so with submission? It requires humility. Why do we see people unwilling to put themselves under the authority of their church? It requires humility. Why do kids not want to obey their parents? It requires humility. Humility is not a bad thing; in fact, according to Scripture it is a good thing.

I remember when my children were little and I talked about humility. Their response was, "I don't want to be humiliated." I was quick to tell them that humility was different from humiliation. Even as I said those words, the thought rose in my mind, both words have the same root.

I looked up the two words, humble and humiliate in the Merriam-Webster On-line dictionary. Indeed they have the same Latin root word humilis which means low. Humble is an adjective- a
descriptive word. Humiliate is a transitive verb - and action word. Humble is something we are. Humiliate is something done to us (either by someone else or ourselves).

Beth Moore makes the following astute statement in her book, Praying God's Word "If we don't presently have an issue that is actively humbling us, we veer with disturbing velocity toward arrogance and self-righteousness. We are wise to remember that Christ never resisted the repentant sinner. He resisted the religious proud and Pharisaic." (pg. 58)

God delights in a humble heart. Isaiah 57:15, "For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Your challenge for today is to ask yourself in what area do you struggle most with humility? Ask God to show you how to practice humility today.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I goofed. I admit it. I goofed. Yesterday, when it was time to send out VC, I did not have my VC file available so I guessed at what our topic for the week was, and I guessed wrong. When I got to the office, and realized my mistake, my first thought was how can I cover for this error so no one will know I goofed. Then I had to chuckle when I realized our theme for this week is pride and I was getting a live lesson on the pride in my own heart. So I decided to admit my blunder
and send you both of the VC from yesterday and today. I apologize for the confusion.

Ask we kick off another week, fasten your seatbelts. Our theme this last week of June is Pride.

About a year ago, I was driving home from Higher Ground, our women's Bible study/support group. I was talking with the Lord about Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and owerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

I was sharing with the women that night, as I often do, that it is vital for them to be in God's word, because He uses it to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. On my way home, I was sharing with God, that it had been a while since I had personally experienced that myself and asked Him to discern the thoughts and intents of my heart through the reading of the Word.

The next morning, that's right, the next morning, in my quiet time, I was reading Psalm 12, when I read verses 3-4, "May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, Who have said, "With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?"" Now, at first glance, I thought this was a great counseling resource, so I slowed down and reread it very carefully. As I was reading it through the second time, the Lord convicted me that this verse was not for my counselees, it was for me. That was me, I had a proud tongue.

My first reaction was to smile. The Lord answered my prayer. He discerned the thoughts and intents of my heart with His Word. I don't know what surprised me more, that God answered my prayer or that I had a proud tongue.

One of the things I will do this week is illustrate the many faces of pride.

Have a great week.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Our theme this week is our tongue- our words.

Can you remember a time in your life when someone spoke words to you that changed the course of your life? Perhaps in a positive way their words were an encouragement and you have never forgotten them. Perhaps in a negative way their words were a discouragement and you have never forgotten them. When I was getting ready to graduate from High School, I was signed up to go into the NAVY as an Air Traffic Controller. I was on a wait list of 100+ women waiting to enter. Now that doesn’t sound like much but it took over 18 months for my number to come to the ready status. I didn’t really do much while I waited; I kind of just hung out. I had a conversation with a history teacher, Mrs. Reese and she said to me, “I know you are going to do
something great. You can do anything you set your mind to.” As silly as it sounds those words spurred me to reconsider my waiting strategy and I started College in the next term. By the time the NAVY called to ask me if I was ready to go in, I had completed my first degree and was well on my way to the second. Since that time, 25 years ago, I completed two Master’s degree,
worked as a civilian System Engineer for the NAVY and now in the Biblical Counseling field. Mrs. Reese’s words very powerfully and positively affected me. You could say, God used her to change the course of my entire life.
Maybe you had the opposite experience. Perhaps when you were a child you were told you were stupid or that you would never measure up to your sister, and ever since then you have been trying to prove them wrong. You have felt inferior, less than, inadequate, and stupid. How terribly you were sinned against. The power of those words negatively impacted your entire life. Those words may have robbed you of living life to the fullest.
Words can wonderfully soothe, encourage and spur to action, or they can irritate, discourage and immobilize. As we consider our words this week, I want us to begin with remembering the impact others words have had on our lives, for good or ill.
Every word we speak can powerfully impact another’s life, for good or ill. Our words do not belong to us, they belong to God.

Your challenge for today is to stop and think before speaking. Consider whether you are investing positively in this person’s life.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Sabbath Rest

I keep a busy schedule with my husband and children, working full time, working on my Doctoral studies, and keeping my home, etc. I know we are all very busy. During my reading through the Old Testament, the Lord began to convict me of His provision and my need for a Sabbath. The only way that I was setting aside a Sabbath was by going to church on Sunday mornings. The rest of the day was not too different from the rest of the days of my week with shopping, school work, checking my email, sometimes work, etc.

Now, I am not writing this to convince anyone else that they need to do what I have done and I have not chosen my course of action as a legalistic requirement of the law. Rather, I share this as evidence of ways that faith is required in our everyday decisions. As I read verses like Exodus 20:8-10, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work…” and Deuteronomy 5:12, “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.” I was more and more convinced this was a necessary provision for my life. However, I could not imagine how I could possibly get done in 6 days, what it had been taking me 7 days to do. Then I saw it, Leviticus 25:20-22, “And if you say, "What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?" Then I will command My
blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest.” The Israelites were commanded to let their land rest every 7
years; their question was how will there be enough eat. God said he would bless them in the sixth year so they would have enough for three years until the next crop came in.

Based on the principle in Leviticus 25, I have chosen to observe a Sabbath. For me, it is Sunday, but it doesn’t have to be. I make every effort to not check my email or go on the computer, get groceries or go shopping, or do school work. I purpose to set the day apart unto the Lord to be refreshed in my body, mind and spirit. I believe in so doing, God has blessed the work of my hands the other 6 days so I still get done what it used to take me 7 days to do. It requires faith to believe that if I devote one day to a Sabbath, He will make up the difference in the time “lost” to get things done. And He has.

God may not be prompting you to observe a Sabbath, but what is it in your life that He is calling you to step out in faith to believe and obey?


Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Value of Faith

Faith is necessary for everything of value that we do. The only thing accomplished in our lives apart from faith is that which is humanly possible.

While the Israelites were on their journey, they became hungry. In fact Scripture says God allowed them to hunger. Deuteronomy 8:3, “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” God created a need in their lives to test them and to make them know
His sufficiency. God sent the manna to test the Israelites.

Exodus 16:4-5, “Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for
you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. 5And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily." I would venture to guess that the question running through the mind of the people was, “Will we get enough to
eat?” Where was faith required? They needed to believe that tomorrow there would be food. If they gathered more than their quota, it got wormy. Only on the sixth day were they allowed to gather a double portion. I think it required faith to gather simply a quota and trust that it would be enough, and there would be more the next day.

See, God often creates a need in our lives to test us, and so that He may fill it. The most unsettling time in our lives is that span of time between God creating the need and when we go to Him to fill it. In that span of time we grumble, complain and run hither and yon seeking a way to meet that need apart from Christ. It requires faith to believe that God will meet that need;
that He will be enough.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005


This week as we continue with our theme of faith I want us to consider Gideon. I love this story of God's "mighty man of valor" who was threshing wheat in the winepress to hide from the Midianites (Judges 6:11-12).

God called Gideon to go to battle. Judges 6:14, "Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" So Gideon did what any of us would do, he rallied the troops, 32,000 strong. God told him
he had too many men. Judges 7:2, "And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, "My own hand has saved me.'" God had him send home those that were fearful, and two-thirds (22,000) of the men left. The Lord told Gideon to have the men go to the water and drink, and the 9,700 that knelt down to drink were sent home. That left Gideon with 300 men to do battle against, "all the people of the East, (who) were lying in the valley as
numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude(7:12).

Do you think Gideon "felt" like he could win? Do you think Gideon knew how the Lord was going to give them the victory? Do you think Gideon's knees weren't knocking? How do I know Gideon was fearful? In Judges 7:10 God said to him, "But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the
camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp."

What lessons can we learn from Gideon?

Stop hiding, God will find you anyway.

Obedience is not based on our understanding of the circumstances.

Obedience is not based on lack of fear.

Obedience often requires faith.

Obedience brings glory to God.

Your challenge for today is to ask the Lord if there is any area of your
life in which fear in hindering your obedience.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Faith Factor

I recently did a seminar for the Seniors Conference at America's KESWICK titled, "Better than Fear Factor - This is Faith Factor." I am not a particular fan of the television show, "Fear Factor" but I understand they make people do the very things that they fear the most. It is an
edge-of-the seat, adrenaline pumping, shocking program. They think they thought this up? They can't hold a candle to the Bible. Have you ever considered some of the stories about faith in the Bible?

The first man in the Bible that comes to mind is Abraham. Genesis 22:2, "Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." Can you imagine anything more terrifying? Yet the Scripture tells us that Abraham obeyed. Isaiah 22:3, "So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him."

My guess is that although Abraham obeyed, he still had sweaty palms, a racing heart and a dry mouth. Faith is not the absence of fear; it is obedience in spite of it (source unknown). When your obedience requires that you step out in faith, step out...sweaty palms, racing heart and all.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Easy Faith?

A short while ago, I was putting together a lesson for Higher Ground, our women’s Bible study support group. I occurred to me that many of us want faith to be easy. We want to feel it before we believe it. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t happen too often in my life. After all, if I
feel it then believe it, is that faith?

Hebrews 11:1-3, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Let’s take a moment to compare that Scripture to the definition of faith in the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary. One of the definitions says, “Firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust”. When I read that, I got stuck on the part that said, “no proof”. Although
Hebrews 11 says “evidence of things not seen”, that does not mean to me, “no proof”. What “proof” is that upon which we can rest our faith?

I believe the proof we have is God’s character and history. God is faithful (Isaiah 49:7). God is the giver of good gifts (James 1:17). God keeps His promises (Joshua 23:14). God delights in His children (Psalm 147:11). The Scripture is laden with evidences of His involvement with His people and His trustworthiness. This week we will consider some of these examples. Our faith is not without proof. Our faith is rooted in The Faithful One. It is firmly grounded in the heart, character and trustworthiness of God Himself.

Your challenge for today is to take a few moments to consider the "proof" you have seen in your life personally, and to thank God for His faithfulness.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Unimaginable Love

“But it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered in to the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
2 Corinthians 2:9

Have you ever tried to think about what is beyond our imagination? It’s kind of an odd feeling. Our imaginations can get pretty carried away. I would suspect that God gets a chuckle out of our thinking we have good imaginations. My guess is we have not even begun to scratch the surface of what is possible.

God wants to pour into the lives of His children so much of Himself, much grace, much mercy, much love, and much blessing. Jesus wants to do that in the context of relationship with us. Have you ever seen a one-sided relationship in which one person loves the other but the other does not love back? It’s very sad. It is stilted and stagnant.

God loves us but if we do not love Him, there is no relationship in which He can express Himself. It isn’t God that changes it is us. When we love God, in a sense, He is free to “love on us” as Stephanie would say. He has things beyond our imagination, things that have not even entered our hearts already prepared to pour out on us, when we love Him.

I saved this until Friday because I didn’t want to begin the week with the impression that we love God because of what we get out of it. We love God because He is worthy of our love and worship. Revelation 4:11, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Jesus Christ our Heavenly Groom

A few weeks ago, my daughter was married in a beautiful ceremony. We spent many months preparing for the big day. There were trips to the hairdressers to practice just the right style. There were trips to the nail salon to determine which type and color of nails looked best. There were fittings, and shopping and all that goes into getting prepared so everything would be perfect. There were glitches here and there, but that was to be expected and we handled them. Fortunately there was no hair-pulling, crying or major stress.

The day arrived. It was a delightful day. In the midst of a string of rainy days, before and after, God opened up a warm, sunny, perfect May day. My daughter looked beautiful. Her nails done, her hair beautifully arranged with her headpiece and veil, and her dress made her look like a princess. She was a bride. She was a bride prepared to greet her groom. The doors swung open,
and there was great anticipation on both of their faces. A handsome groom stood waiting to receive his bride. A perfect couple. Their smiles were free and easy. Their obvious love and delight in each other were demonstrated in numerous ways throughout the ceremony.
There were many times throughout the day, I say my new son-in-law staring with delight at his new bride. I had several people comment about how they looked at each other.

Young love, new love, fresh love, exciting love …isn’t that what every woman’s heart longs for? It’s ours. Every Christian woman has just that with Jesus Christ our Heavenly Groom. We are the bride of Christ. We can enjoy that passionate love with Jesus every day of our life, and on into eternity. It will not grow old or fade. Jesus is standing at the front of the Church with great anticipation, to receive His bride. The doors will swing open, and He will not take His eyes off of you.

Isaiah 62:5, “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.”

Your challenge today is to consider your Heavenly Husband, your perfect Groom.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005


This week as we continue with our theme of faith I want us to consider Gideon. I love this story of God's "mighty man of valor" who was threshing wheat in the winepress to hide from the Midianites (Judges 6:11-12).

God called Gideon to go to battle. Judges 6:14, "Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" So Gideon did what any of us would do, he rallied the troops, 32,000 strong. God told him
he had too many men. Judges 7:2, "And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, "My own hand has saved me.'" God had him send home those that were fearful, and two-thirds (22,000) of the men left.

The Lord told Gideon to have the men go to the water and drink, and the 9,700 that knelt down to drink were sent home. That left Gideon with 300 men to do battle against, "all the people of the East, (who) were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude(7:12).

Do you think Gideon "felt" like he could win? Do you think Gideon knew how the Lord was going to give them the victory? Do you think Gideon's knees weren't knocking? How do I know Gideon was fearful? In Judges 7:10 God said to him, "But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the
camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp."

What lessons can we learn from Gideon?

Stop hiding, God will find you anyway.

Obedience is not based on our understanding of the circumstances.

Obedience is not based on lack of fear.

Obedience often requires faith.

Obedience brings glory to God.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Teenage Feelings

When I was a teenager, before I committed my life to Christ, before I was a believer in the Biblical sense of the word, I remember thinking about loving God. I remember saying I loved God. Oddly enough, this many years later I remember feeling rather neutral about God. I didn't
FEEL love for God; I just knew I was supposed to love God. I believed in Him, I never doubted His existence (I tried once, and ended up having a panic attack). I believed that Jesus was God's Son and that He died on the cross for sins. I knew God was transcendent (far). 1 Kings 8:27, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built." Or Jeremiah 23: 23-24, "'Am I a God near at hand,' says the Lord, 'And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret
places, so I shall not see him?' says the Lord." I saw God as out-there somewhere, sitting a His throne. I had no idea that He was (and is) also immanent (near). Acts 17:27-28, "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope; that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being..." It is God's immanence that enables us to have relationship with Him. It was when I realized that God wanted relationship with me, that I began to understand love. Over the years, as I have come to know God more personally, more intimately I have fallen more and more in love with Him.

When I pause to consider Jesus, a sense of peace washes over my mind and body.

1 John 4:19, "We love Him because He first loved us."

Your challenge for today is to dwell upon His love for you. Remember, He wants fellowship with you.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Loving God

This week's theme is Loving God. We won't have a theme every week, especially after we start adding in the other writer's work around July 1st.

In the ministry here at America's Keswick, we deal daily with people struggling with addiction. We know that addiction comes in all shapes and sizes, and is no respecter of persons. We understand the Bible to indicate that addiction is a form of idolatry, a form of false worship. Addiction is being devoted to something or someone more that we are devoted to God.

As we consider that perspective, it basically includes most people I know, as well as, myself. According, to Dr. Ed Welch, in his book, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, "The list of addictive substances and desires is limited only by our own imagination, as we see here.
Alcohol, anger, love, weightlifting, sleep, nicotine, pain, TV, exercise, gambling, nose drops, cocaine, work, sports, sugar, people, sex, caffeine, shoplifting, lying, chocolate, risk, success/winning, pornography." In every one of these instances and many others, our love
for God takes second or third or lower place. We have become devoted to something other than the One True God.

I often tell people that our goal is to create an environment in which an individual falls so deeply in love with Jesus Christ, that the things of the world will pale in comparison. We cannot rip an addiction out of someone's hands, but we can show the far surpassing glory of Christ, so that the addiction is dropped from their hands as they reach for The Far Greater One. Colossians 3:2, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth."

Your challenge for today is to ask God to give you a heart of passion to love Him.


Friday, June 10, 2005

regurgitated truth

I counsel a lot of people who are relying solely on others to feed them truth. What I mean by that is, they read devotionals, watch television preachers and services, listen to Christian radio and read wonderful Christian books. These are all good. They are all great resources; but they are all pre-processed truth. I tell people it is regurgitated truth.

I remember in elementary school seeing films of birds that fed their young that way. Mama or papa bird would go find food, "chew" it up and come back to the nest. The little tiny baby birds would peck at the parent's beak to get some of the chewed up food. I remember thinking, Yuk! But you know, those baby birds grew up and started to go in search for food themselves. They did not rely on mama and papa forever.

I see devotions and preaching and Christians books much the same way. They are wonderful, but they cannot be your sole, steady diet. You need to go in search for food yourself to sustain your spirit. In addition to all those good things, you need to personally be in God's word, seeking nourishment directly from the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 119 is one of my favorite Psalms. It is the longest Psalm with 176 verses, each a morsel to savor. I just picked two of the verses that are appropriate to our topic today, although there are many.

Psalm 119: 15-16, "I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."

Your challenge for today is to read Psalm 119, jot down any thoughts the Lord impresses upon you.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Are you excited today that God is at work in your life?

Are you excited today that God is at work in your life? If you are suffering or hurting today, God is at work. If you are joyful, happy and content today, God is at work. God is going to accomplish His purposes in your life.

God is in the process of sanctifying His children. We are sanctified (set apart), and we are being sanctified (conformed to His image). First Thessalonians 5:23, "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."(NIV) God is changing you. God is changing you from what you were, what you are, to what He wants you to be. Do you want to know one of the tools He uses to do that? He uses His Word.

While praying to the Father as recorded in John 17:6-19, Jesus asked the Father to "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." God uses His word to sanctify you and me. God uses His word to change us. Knowing that increases my passion to be in His word. I want to be
changed. I want to be more and more like Jesus. How about you? Your challenge for the day is to spend at least 15 minutes intently reading the Scriptures, and to jot down any observation the Lord impresses upon you. Everyone can find 15 minutes in their day.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

James 1:25, "But the man who looks intently into the perfect law...

James 1:25, "But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."(NIV)

Yesterday, in our time together, we thought upon James 1:21. Today, we're going to drop down just a few verses to James 1:25. It was a few years ago, as I was reading this verse for the umpteenth time when I was gripped by the fact that it said the perfect law (God's Word) gives freedom. I was so excited by that promise. It is right there; God's perfect law gives freedom!!! There is hope.

If you are in bondage of any kind, bondage to sin, bondage to your emotions or moods, bondage to your past, or bondage to anxiety, fear, or worry the perfect law gives freedom. Whatever, holds you bound, does not stand a chance against the perfect law because God tells us His
perfect law gives freedom. Isn't that exciting? Doesn't that give you a glimmer of hope that you can be free?

As I continued to meditate on that soothing, encouraging promise my eyes fell upon another part of the verse. The part that said, "But the man who looks intently into the perfect law..." Looks 'intently'...Oh! Wow, did that ever convict me. My time in the Word is not about getting three chapters done or something I can check off my to-do list. It's about looking intently into the perfect law that gives freedom. And of course, as the verse says, it's not just reading it but
actually doing it. There is a three part action plan that brings results. 1) Look intently, 2) remember what you read, and 3) do it. The result will be that you will be blessed in what you do.

Your challenge for today is to take one chapter of Scripture (Any chapter of James would be great), read it intently looking for one thing you can implement through your obedience. Write it down. Do it.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

We are continuing this week with our theme of the Word of God.

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21). Yesterday, we talked about the healing power of God's Word. In our verse today, God tells us how that works.

Suffering is a very self-focusing experience. Take for instance, slamming your hand in a car door. While your hand is throbbing, your arthritis probably never crosses your mind once. Right? If you are hurting and suffering, that pain is probably central in your thinking, and if not central it's looming large in your periphery all the time. Perhaps it is not pain and suffering that is consuming you, maybe it is sin that has its grips on you. You just can't seem to shake it. As hard as you try, it's right there demanding your attention.

The very beginning of our verse for today says, "lay aside". Oh, sure that sounds easy. You and I both know from experience, that as often as we attempt to lay aside our suffering, our pain, our sin, it just keeps bouncing back. It's like trying to get rid of statically charged fuzz. Every time you think you have shaken it free, there it is stuck on another part of your hand.

Let's read on. We are told to "receive with meekness the implanted word" "Receive" is a verb. It's an action word. It implies actively doing something. As you spend time reading God's Word, allow yourself to be actively engaged. "Receive with meekness" implies that you recognize that God's truth supercedes your experience. Come to God's Word with a spirit that is ready to be engaged, ready to receive.

The only way you will be able to 'lay aside' is to 'receive with meekness' something to take its place. Lay aside your suffering and your sin, and receive God's healing word.

Your challenge for today is to take one verse or one section of Scripture and to meditate on it, mull it over, consider it, think upon it for 10 minutes or more.


Monday, June 06, 2005

This week our theme is going to be the Word of God.

This week our theme is going to be the Word of God. If you have ever heard me speak at a Women's retreat, etc. you have probably heard me say, "I am passionate about two things. The first thing I am passionate about is the Word of God. The second thing I am passionate about is
Jesus Christ, my Heavenly Husband." You see one of the benefits of being a speaker is the opportunity to spend a lot of dedicated time researching and studying a particular topic. Also, as a counselor, I am always looking for ways to maximize the value and impact of counseling for an individual or couple. For sure, being in the Word of God is vital for genuine, long-lasting, godly change.

About 9 years ago, I went through a season of depression and anxiety. It was an extremely difficult time in my life. During that time, God drew my eye to Psalm 107:10-16. That is fodder for another devotional. Following those verses, I read verses 19 and 20. "Then they cried out
to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses, He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." He sent His word and healed them... Do you need healing in your life? Are you broken, hurting, depressed, angry, bitter, or desperate? Go to God's Word for healing. Are you happy, content, joyful, strong and whole? Go to God's Word to maintain your "health".

Regular, intentional, focused times in God's Word are vital for the healing of a hurting heart. God's Word is as important to your soul and spirit as food is to your body. Isaiah 55:2, "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance."

Your challenge for today is to spend at least 15 minutes (more if possible) reading in one section to Scripture. Ask God to give you insight into Himself.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Our theme for this kick-off week is change through obedience.

I have noticed that many of us are willing to try doing the right thing. I can't tell you how many times I have given a counseling assignment, only to have the person return the following week to tell me, "Yeah, I tried that, it didn't work." My typical response is, "We are not called to try obedience, and we are called to obey. It is always right to do right."

The "I'll try it" attitude towards obedience is rooted in the false understanding that obedience is optional and based on whether the person gets what s/he wants or not. We want the blessings of obedience without obedience. We wonder why we don't see more change in our lives, or why our prayers seem to hit the ceiling, or why our Scripture reading seems dry. Are you holding out in any area of your life? Is there one area of your life that you can point to that is that besetting sin, the one that seems impossible to break free from? You can be free!! You can change!! You can live in victory!!

Here's how: choose obedience. Obedience is a choice. As you choose obedience, you are demonstrating your love for God in a tangible way, and as you choose it moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, it turns into weeks, months, years, and eventually a lifetime of loving

John 14:21, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

Do you want to see Jesus manifested in your life? Choose obedience.

Your challenge for today is to read John 14 and 15.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

"LORD, I Want to Know You."

In my preparation for Higher Ground (our Monday night women's support group) I came across the following paragraph in Kay Arthur's Bible Study, "LORD, I Want to Know You."

"People often come to us at Precept Ministries seeking our counsel. Before they contact us, many of them have already been under counseling, but to no avail. Sometimes the counseling has been ineffective because the counselee simply would not walk in obedience to godly counsel." (pg. 87)

As a Biblical counselor, I periodically have people come and thank me for making a difference in their life. I don't say that to boast, because honestly, I don't believe it's me, I believe it's them that makes the difference. I tell everyone basically the same things. It is my intention that my counsel not stray from God's truth. I think the difference is evident in those that choose to obey, not me but God and His word. Change is possible through obedience to God and by the power
of the Holy Spirit. Frankly, I'm excited about that. Change is possible since Jesus came. I don't know about you, but I am still in need of change.

Ephesians 4:22-24, "...that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness."

Your challenge for today is to consider that God will bless your obedience through change in your life. All day, remember....change is possible.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

It's finally here!!!

It's finally here!!! We have waited a while now, to kick off this new email devotional for women. It was a few months back that Bill approached me and asked me to consider writing a daily devotional for women similar to his daily men's devotional "Freedom Fighters". So after much planning here we are. There will be several women writing for our Victory Call email. I hope and pray you will be challenged and blessed by each one.

I want to start this week with an illustration I often use in my speaking. I share how I religiously make time in my day to sit and watch my exercise videos. I have a whole collection of them. The odd thing is I haven't lost a pound yet! I am kidding of course, but isn't that what we often do with Scripture? We read it as if that in and of itself is enough. Yet we fail to get up and do it. This devotional can fall into the same category. If you faithfully read it but fail to implement what God reveals to you, then you are only deceiving yourself. James 1:22-25, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will
be blessed in what he does."

Your challenge for today, should you chose to accept it, is to consider how seriously you want to live victoriously, and if you will commit to actively engage yourself in the process of change through being a doer not just a hearer.